6 Huge Things I Learnt from Creating the 101 Websites Series (+ How You Can Create Your Own)

When I first came up with the idea of creating the 101 Best Sites Online Right Now series on ABOH, I had absolutely no idea what journey was about to start. At first, I was so excited by the idea that I didn’t consider anything else. But actually, committing yourself to a series like this is a huge challenge.

If you come up with a unique idea for a series, go for it. Don’t question it. But I’ll be honest…

It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do for your blog.

6 Huge Things I Learnt from Creating the 101 Websites Series (+ How You Can Create Your Own)

You’ll have more late nights, frustration and moments of wanting to give up then you’ll ever have with your online space.

But you’ll also have more enjoyment, satisfaction and pure accomplishment than anything else you’ll ever publish.

Leading up to the first instalment of the series, I was worried I would fail. I started to second guess myself, as you do. But once you’ve decided to commit yourself to it, and as soon as you involve other people in your plan, there’s no going back.

After it all, I can safely say that running a series on ABOH has been one of the best things I’ve ever done and something I’m planning to do again. But I do wish I’d had help along the way. Which is why I’m writing this today.

So if you’re thinking of doing something different with your blog or want to try hosting a series, here are some crucial lessons I’ve learnt that will make it successful for you. Plus, I’ll also give you some tips for how you can create your own – but you can look out for a whole blog post on that next month.

#1 People Want To Get Involved

When you do a series that involves other people, the scariest, most nerve-wracking part of it all is wondering whether they’ll actually want to take part. My blog isn’t huge by any standard – but I chose to contact some of the biggest bloggers and business owners out there. People who have a huge influence. It was a real risk. And sure, some people didn’t reply to my email – that’s OK.

But most did.

When you send out that first email it’s like you’ve just pressed a button to sign over your soul. Self-doubt creeps in telling you no one is going to reply and you’re going to be a massive failure.

Then you get an email like this:

Running a series on your blog

People will want to get involved with what you’re doing, especially if it’s an idea they’ve never seen before. Sure, many of the people I featured in my series will have been asked to feature in a round up before. But a round up for 101 websites? It’s on another level.

Don’t be afraid that you won’t get any replies, because you will. Reach out to people. Explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and they’ll be more than happy to feature.

#2 It Only Works When It Benefits Your Readers

The difficulty when writing a series for your blog is that it’s easy to just focus on the benefits it will give you.  There are endless ones, it’s true. But if you start out with a series and just purely focus on how it’s going to benefit you, then it won’t work. It just won’t. You’ll be so focused on yourself and your own growth that people will be able to tell exactly why you’re doing it – for the wrong reasons.

When you’re coming up with an idea for your series, ask yourself:

  • How will this benefit my readers?
  • How will they be able to use this to their own advantage?
  • How would this help them?  

In my case, I knew that I had an endless amount of websites that I benefited from on a daily basis. One day, it clicked that I should be sharing these with my readers. That’s when 101 Websites series was born.

101 Websites series

#3 You Need A Plan - & A Theme

Sure, 101 Websites is a great theme, but it was so general. I knew I didn’t want to just have one post with them all in – that’s not the point of running a series. So instead, I thought of grouping them into different categories. The challenge then came of finding the websites that fitted into one of the five categories.

But to do this effectively, I needed a plan. Did I make a huge list and contact everyone all at once? No. My plan involved a huge spreadsheet, putting each blog into a category with their name and way of contact. Then at the start of each month, I contacted one group. That gave them two to three weeks to get back to me.

Doing a series like this involves so much more planning than your general blog editorial calendar. You’re not only thinking of yourself – you’re ultimately basing this around other people. Planning will help you figure who you need to contact and when, to make sure your series runs on time each month.

#4 Motivation is Key

We all know that motivation is key to running a successful online presence. You’ve got to be motivated enough to want to do it. Running a series like this shouldn’t feel like a chore. There will be times when you want to shut your computer down.

For my series, I picked out three great posts from each website that I mentioned. There were 101 websites.

That makes 303 blog posts.

I know.

But once the first part of your series is out there and you start to see the benefits, it’ll push you to carry on. At first, running something like this will be out of your comfort zone. Then you’ll start to get social shares, people will comment on what you’ve done and the people you’ve featured will love it – that all helps you to become even more motivated.

#5 It’s a Great Way to Grow Your Online Presence

This isn’t the most important benefit of running a series by a long mile. But it’s still pretty good. Yes – deciding to run a series on your blog will definitely increase your traffic. Looking at my analytics, on the day each chapter of the series went live, my traffic shot upwards. And I’ll give you an extra tip here…

But not only will it increase your traffic. It’ll also boost a whole host of other things related to your online presence. Your email list, engagement, social media – they’ll all see the benefits.

#5 You’ll Make Loads of New Connections

Remember – you’re reaching out to these people. When you first start out with a series, you have no idea where it could take you. But you’ll find that one of the most valuable things is the connections you make with these people. You could be one of the smallest bloggers in the world – but this will make people start to recognise you.

Some of the people I’ve featured have grown to be my friends online. I’ve written guest posts to feature on their website. They’ve been commenting on my blog posts. We’ve been interacting on social media.

This isn’t something that just happens and then it’s forgotten about. The posts in your series will continue getting more views and more shares over time.

#6 People Will Appreciate It

These are just some of the emails I received from the awesome people I featured in the series:

You could contact the biggest blogger in the world – if they’re a good person (which most of us are!) they’ll appreciate being featured. Who wouldn’t? That’s what makes the whole thing worthwhile.

A Final Note…

So of course, a traffic and social media follower increase are huge benefits of running a series. But for me, they aren’t as important. Today, I wanted to share with you that you can build your presence online as a small blogger amongst all the bigger ones out there. More than anything, I hope this can encourage you to know that there are so many different ways to create content with your blog. Series are exciting. Series are interesting – and series will challenge you. But you’ll only get stronger because of it. If you’re willing to put in the work and make it happen, you’ll just carry on seeing the benefits.


Would you ever consider running a series on your blog? If you already have, how did it benefit you?


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Holly SuttonComment